The Ontario government has announced a grant of up to $15 million over four years for Wawa OSB Inc.’s new, state-of-the art, $181-million OSB plant that will also see the hiring of 170 people in the Northern Ontario community.
The Ontario government is providing the grant through the Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program to support a new state-of-the-art plant that will produce oriented strand board (OSB), an important material for building new homes. This investment will build a stronger forestry sector, create jobs and bring economic growth to northern and Indigenous communities.
“Funding this new plant is a win for Ontario, Wawa OSB Inc., and the entire community of Wawa,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry.
“An investment of this size is one more way our government is supporting forestry and ensuring we secure the materials we need for our plan to Build Ontario. This exciting opportunity is another example of a new company choosing to invest in Ontario because of an improved business environment, and it will bring good jobs back to this region and benefit Indigenous communities.”
Ontario has a competitive advantage over other jurisdictions in the production of OSB because of its abundance of low-grade poplar and birch. Wawa OSB Inc. is investing $181 million to build the province’s third OSB manufacturing facility which will expand Ontario’s OSB production capacity to satisfy growing demand for building materials in Canada and the U.S.
“Through Ontario’s Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program we are creating jobs and supporting innovation and economic growth in the North,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Our government is proud to support this investment by Wawa OSB to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and we will continue to support small and medium-sized businesses to bring jobs, opportunities and prosperity to people and communities in Northern Ontario.”
The Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program is a business support program designed to improve productivity and innovation, enhance competitiveness, support new market access and strengthen regional economies.
“This assistance is a key first step in financing our project to reopen the WAWA OSB mill,” said Yolaine Rousseau, executive vice-president, WAWA OSB Inc.
“The Cossette family is very excited about creating jobs in Northern Ontario and increasing our production capacity to better serve North American customers. I would like to reiterate our commitment to working with the various stakeholders, including the First Nations in the territory. Our team is proud and grateful to the Government of Ontario for recognizing the importance of this project to the province, and we will continue our discussions with the Government of Canada to obtain their support as well.”
Wawa is a rural Northern Ontario community, which has a population of approximately 2700. Once the plant is operational, over 300 new direct and indirect jobs will be created.